Asbury Park Press http://app.sportstonews.com Golf Video, News, Scores and Updates Fri, 22 Mar 2019 04:22:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.13 Na Yeon Choi has more fun with golf, says she now drinks beer and relaxes http://app.sportstonews.com/2019/03/22/na-yeon-choi-has-more-fun-with-golf-says-she-now-drinks-beer-and-relaxes/ http://app.sportstonews.com/2019/03/22/na-yeon-choi-has-more-fun-with-golf-says-she-now-drinks-beer-and-relaxes/#respond Fri, 22 Mar 2019 01:36:26 +0000 http://app.sportstonews.com/2019/03/22/na-yeon-choi-has-more-fun-with-golf-says-she-now-drinks-beer-and-relaxes/ Na Yeon Choi had an unexpected share of the Founders Cup lead halfway through the first round in her return from a back injury.

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PHOENIX – Na Yeon Choi had an unexpected share of the Founders Cup lead halfway through the first round Thursday in her return from a back injury.

Choi shot a 7-under 65 at Desert Ridge in her first tournament round in 11 months. She joined Charlotte Thomas, Alana Uriell and Jin Young Ko atop the leaderboard in the event that honors the 13 women who founded the LPGA Tour.

Celine Boutier shot a 64 later in the day to take the lead by one.

“Golf is really funny game. I didn’t expect any good score today because this is first day,” said Choi, the 2012 U.S. Women’s Open champion and nine-time tour winner. “I practice hard, of course, but it’s hard to tell how I’m going to shoot. Less expectation, I think, always give you better result.”

Close friend Jenny Shin, a stroke back, waited around for Choi to finish and threw a cup of champagne on her in celebration.

“I’m just happy be on the fairway and walking with friends,” Choi said.

The 31-year-old South Korean tried to play through the back problem before finally shutting it down last April, taking the advice of friends and former tour stars Beth Daniel and Meg Mallon.

“I just kept playing golf and my swing got worse and worse and hitting my ball going left and right,” Choi said. “My mentally is like totally broken, so I just need my body get ready first.”

“I try to drink some beer and get a little tipsy and playing golf. Because we always play golf in serious mode. I just like to play more fun.”

She took a two-week European vacation to help clear her mind.

“I didn’t think about golf,” Choi said. “I didn’t set alarm every day, you know. I just wake up whenever I want and I just eat whatever I want. It was different life I think. I think I was kind of robot when I was growing up and then playing golf well in LPGA Tour. I think I was like living in the box. I couldn’t do anything besides golf. Only golf, only golf. Like 100 percent focused on golf.”

When she got the golf bug again, she took it slow and relaxed.

“I try to drink some beer and get a little tipsy and playing golf,” Choi said. “Because we always play golf in serious mode. I just like to play more fun.”

Uriell hasn’t had a chance to get burned out. She won a Symetra Tour event two weeks ago in Florida in her pro debut, making an eagle on the first hole of a playoff.

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“It’s given me a lot of confidence coming into the LPGA having a win under my belt,” Uriell said. “Feel a little more at home out here, so I don’t mind letting loose and seeing what I’m capable of.”

Carlota Ciganda and Monday qualifier Cheyenne Knight matched Shin at 66.

Former Phoenix high school star Sarah Schmelzel opened with a 67 in her third tour start.

“It was very comfortable looking over outside the ropes and seeing my boyfriend, my mom, my dad, and my brother and people from my golf club that I grew up at here,” Schmelzel said.

In 2001, her golf-loving father – alerted by a friend that Annika Sorenstam was tearing up their home course of Moon Valley in the Standard Register Ping – pulled her out of elementary school in time to watch the final nine holes of Sorenstam’s tour-record 59.

“I just remember I got called up to the office,” Schmelzel said. “I was like, ‘Oh, no. That’s not good.’ I saw my dad standing at the front desk and he said, ‘All right, we’re going to Moon Valley.’”

Nelly Korda had a 68. She won the Women’s Australian Open last month for her second LPGA Tour victory and leads the money list.

Defending champion Inbee Park shot 69.

 

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Akshay Bhatia, 17, cards 74 in PGA Tour debut http://app.sportstonews.com/2019/03/22/akshay-bhatia-17-cards-74-in-pga-tour-debut/ http://app.sportstonews.com/2019/03/22/akshay-bhatia-17-cards-74-in-pga-tour-debut/#respond Fri, 22 Mar 2019 00:37:52 +0000 http://app.sportstonews.com/2019/03/22/akshay-bhatia-17-cards-74-in-pga-tour-debut/ All signs point to Bhatia intending to skip college and turn pro in January when he turns 18.

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Akshay Bhatia, junior golf phenom, long-ball hitter and soon-to-be-tour-pro posted a 3-over 74 in his PGA Tour debut on Thursday at the Valspar Championship.

Bhatia got in the field at Innisbrook Resort’s Copperhead Course in Palm Harbor, Fla., after accepting a sponsor exemption.

Thursday’s round validated his ascent in the game, and all signs continue to point to Bhatia’s intent to skip college and turn pro in January when he turns 18.

For now, Bhatia is the No. 1-ranked junior boys golfer in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings.

On Thursday, he made a statement right from the get-go, getting a birdie on his first hole.

He later birdied Nos. 4 and 10, and despite bogeys on Nos. 6, 8, 9 and 12 and a double bogey on 11, Bhatia made smooth sailing of the Snake Pit, the difficult closing holes of Nos. 16, 17 and 18, by making par on all three.

Only 45 golfers in the field of 144 broke par in the first round. Bhatia is eight shots off the lead held by three: Joel Dahmen, Sepp Straka and Russel Knox, who’s double eagle helped vault him to the top of the leaderboard.

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Joel Dahmen, Sepp Straka tied for lead after 18 at Valspar http://app.sportstonews.com/2019/03/21/joel-dahmen-sepp-straka-tied-for-lead-after-18-at-valspar/ http://app.sportstonews.com/2019/03/21/joel-dahmen-sepp-straka-tied-for-lead-after-18-at-valspar/#respond Thu, 21 Mar 2019 23:28:01 +0000 http://app.sportstonews.com/2019/03/21/joel-dahmen-sepp-straka-tied-for-lead-after-18-at-valspar/ In the opening round of the 2019 Valspar Championship, Joel Dahmen and Sepp Straka both carded 5-under 66's, tying them atop the leaderboard after 18 holes and giving them a one-stroke lead over the f

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In the opening round of the 2019 Valspar Championship, Joel Dahmen and Sepp Straka both carded 5-under 66’s, tying them atop the leaderboard after 18 holes and giving them a one-stroke lead over the field heading into Friday.

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Today’s Top Plays: Dustin Johnson’s 255-yard approach is the Shot of the Day http://app.sportstonews.com/2019/03/21/todays-top-plays-dustin-johnsons-255-yard-approach-is-the-shot-of-the-day/ http://app.sportstonews.com/2019/03/21/todays-top-plays-dustin-johnsons-255-yard-approach-is-the-shot-of-the-day/#respond Thu, 21 Mar 2019 23:26:02 +0000 http://app.sportstonews.com/2019/03/21/todays-top-plays-dustin-johnsons-255-yard-approach-is-the-shot-of-the-day/ In the opening round of the 2019 Valspar Championship, Dustin Johnson was the only one to reach the par-5 14th green in two shots after landing his 255-yard approach within 31 feet of the cup.

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In the opening round of the 2019 Valspar Championship, Dustin Johnson was the only one to reach the par-5 14th green in two shots after landing his 255-yard approach within 31 feet of the cup. He would go on to two-putt for birdie.

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Sepp Straka interview after Round 1 of Valspar http://app.sportstonews.com/2019/03/21/sepp-straka-interview-after-round-1-of-valspar/ http://app.sportstonews.com/2019/03/21/sepp-straka-interview-after-round-1-of-valspar/#respond Thu, 21 Mar 2019 22:48:02 +0000 http://app.sportstonews.com/2019/03/21/sepp-straka-interview-after-round-1-of-valspar/ Following his opening-round 5-under 66 at the 2019 Valspar Championship, Sepp Straka discusses his bogey-free round, which gave him a share of the lead heading into Friday.

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Following his opening-round 5-under 66 at the 2019 Valspar Championship, Sepp Straka discusses his bogey-free round, which gave him a share of the lead heading into Friday.

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Louis Oosthuizen cards closing birdie at Valspar http://app.sportstonews.com/2019/03/21/louis-oosthuizen-cards-closing-birdie-at-valspar/ http://app.sportstonews.com/2019/03/21/louis-oosthuizen-cards-closing-birdie-at-valspar/#respond Thu, 21 Mar 2019 22:47:02 +0000 http://app.sportstonews.com/2019/03/21/louis-oosthuizen-cards-closing-birdie-at-valspar/ In the opening round of the 2019 Valspar Championship, Louis Oosthuizen rolls in a 12-foot putt to make a closing birdie at the par-4 18th hole.

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In the opening round of the 2019 Valspar Championship, Louis Oosthuizen rolls in a 12-foot putt to make a closing birdie at the par-4 18th hole.

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Bubba Watson uses 3-wood to sink birdie putt at Valspar http://app.sportstonews.com/2019/03/21/bubba-watson-uses-3-wood-to-sink-birdie-putt-at-valspar/ http://app.sportstonews.com/2019/03/21/bubba-watson-uses-3-wood-to-sink-birdie-putt-at-valspar/#respond Thu, 21 Mar 2019 22:46:02 +0000 http://app.sportstonews.com/2019/03/21/bubba-watson-uses-3-wood-to-sink-birdie-putt-at-valspar/ In the opening round of the 2019 Valspar Championship, Bubba Watson uses his 3-wood to sink a 27-foot birdie putt from the fringe at par-3 17th hole.

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In the opening round of the 2019 Valspar Championship, Bubba Watson uses his 3-wood to sink a 27-foot birdie putt from the fringe at par-3 17th hole. This highlight is delivered by PGA TOUR LIVE.

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Golfers must navigate the Snakepit at Valspar Championship http://app.sportstonews.com/2019/03/21/golfers-must-navigate-the-snakepit-at-valspar-championship/ http://app.sportstonews.com/2019/03/21/golfers-must-navigate-the-snakepit-at-valspar-championship/#respond Thu, 21 Mar 2019 22:41:33 +0000 http://app.sportstonews.com/2019/03/21/golfers-must-navigate-the-snakepit-at-valspar-championship/ The Snake Pit is marked by an awesome statue near the 16th tee, which begins one of "the most difficult finishing holes on the PGA Tour.

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The Masters has Amen Corner.

The Honda Classic has the Bear Trap.

At the Valspar Championship, this week’s PGA Tour event, golfers will need to navigate the Snake Pit, the final three holes on the Copperhead course at Innisbrook Golf Resort in Palm Harbor, Fla.

The Snake Pit is marked by an awesome statue near the 16th tee box, which begins one of “the most difficult finishing holes on the PGA Tour,” brags the plaque below its giant snake.

The final three holes are named the Moccasin, the Rattler and the Copperhead and golfers are encouraged to take a #SnakePitSelfie.

The 16th is a par-4, 445-yard beast with water most of the way down the right side. The scoring average is 4.190. Golfers get bogey or worse 25 percent of the time.

The 17th is a 196-yard par 3 with a narrow green protected by four bunkers.

The closing hole is a par 4 of 441 yards, and goes up hill, and has a slew of bunkers down the right side of the fairway, and two more big bunkers in front of and behind the green. The scoring average is 4.2 and is sure to make or break someone this week.

Last year the Snake Pit ranked as the third-toughest finishing three holes on the PGA Tour. Paul Casey won the event in 2018, holding off a charging Tiger Woods.

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At 41, Luke Donald on Valspar charge: ‘I’m good enough to compete and win’ http://app.sportstonews.com/2019/03/21/at-41-luke-donald-on-valspar-charge-im-good-enough-to-compete-and-win/ http://app.sportstonews.com/2019/03/21/at-41-luke-donald-on-valspar-charge-im-good-enough-to-compete-and-win/#respond Thu, 21 Mar 2019 22:16:14 +0000 http://app.sportstonews.com/2019/03/21/at-41-luke-donald-on-valspar-charge-im-good-enough-to-compete-and-win/ Playing for the first time since the Sony Open in Hawaii in January, Luke Donald hit the first page of the leaderboard at the Valspar

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Former world No. 1 Luke Donald is minding his back and biding his time as he carefully continues his comeback to the game from a herniated disc.

A 4-under-par 67 in Thursday’s first round of the Valspar Championship was a pleasant boost in his determined journey.

Playing for the first time since the Sony Open in Hawaii in January and playing for just the 12th time since the start of 2018, Donald hit the first page of the leaderboard with five birdies against a lone bogey. On the difficult Copperhead Course at the Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, Fla., he trailed leaders Joel Dahmen and Sepp Straka by one shot.

Donald, who won this event in 2012, was in a group in third place that included Russell Knox, who made an albatross on the par-5 11th when he holed a 3-wood from 275 yards. It was the first albatross in the tournament’s 19-year history.

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“It’s been a bit of a struggle the last year,” said Donald, who was the PGA Tour’s player of the year in 2011. “Obviously struggling with some back stuff and working hard at it, but backs are tricky, and they take a little bit of time. Honestly my goal this week is to play four rounds and feel pretty good at the end of four rounds and then keep going.

“To play well is a nice bonus.”

Donald, 41, who played on four Ryder Cup teams for Europe, has 17 worldwide wins, five coming on the PGA Tour. He hasn’t won since the 2013 Dunlop Phoenix Tournament in Japan and hasn’t won on the PGA Tour since the 2012 Valspar. But he still thinks there are victories ahead.

“I still think I’m good enough to compete and win and be one of the better players in the world. I’ve done it before so there’s no reason why not,” said Donald, who is 919th in the world rankings. “We have seen lots of players around my age who have been very successful, even Justin Rose is only a couple years younger than me and still playing great golf.

“It’s a little bit of a different style of golf that I play because there’s certain courses that I’m just going to struggle on just because I don’t hit it quite far enough these days. But there are courses out there I can compete and do well at and win.”

Donald is playing on a medical extension and must limit his practice and training. Instead of hitting golf balls for six hours a day and playing a round of golf every day, he’s spending two to three hours a day doing exercises for his back and then practices for a bit.

“I’m not going full bore, but I have been working as much as I can on my game and it’s nice to come to a familiar place that I’ve played some good rounds around and shoot a good score,” said Donald, who is making his 11th appearance in the tournament. “People go through injuries, it’s just part of sport. I’ve been really pretty lucky, this is my 18th season and I only had six months off for a wrist injury throughout those 18 seasons, so this is going to happen.

“Forty years old, they say things start breaking down a little bit, but hopefully this is pretty short-term and now I can go on for a few more years and enjoy some good golf.”

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Bubba Watson gets up-and-down for birdie at Valspar http://app.sportstonews.com/2019/03/21/bubba-watson-gets-up-and-down-for-birdie-at-valspar/ http://app.sportstonews.com/2019/03/21/bubba-watson-gets-up-and-down-for-birdie-at-valspar/#respond Thu, 21 Mar 2019 22:08:02 +0000 http://app.sportstonews.com/2019/03/21/bubba-watson-gets-up-and-down-for-birdie-at-valspar/ In the opening round of the 2019 Valspar Championship, Bubba Watson gets up-and-down from just short of the green to make birdie at the par-5 14th hole.

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In the opening round of the 2019 Valspar Championship, Bubba Watson gets up-and-down from just short of the green to make birdie at the par-5 14th hole.

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